The Producers Guild of America's campaign to enforce accuracy in credits has started to achieve the desired results without resorting to arbitrations or lawsuits, the organizers said April 12.


LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) -- The Producers Guild of America's campaign to enforce accuracy in credits has started to achieve the desired results without resorting to arbitrations or lawsuits, the organizers said April 12.

The "Truth in Credits" campaign was announced with great fanfare in October, when PGA president Kathleen Kennedy and VPs Marshall Herskovitz and Hawk Koch said they would go so far as to sue people in civil court to ensure that the "produced by" credit was not abused as a bargaining chip, partial payment or reward to family and friends.

Little has been heard of the campaign since, but that is precisely its measure of success, according to PGA executive director Vance Van Petten. The dozen or so disputes that have arisen in the past six months have been resolved without formal dispute resolution, reflecting the value of the PGA's guidelines in determining who deserves the credit, he said.

"By explaining the rules and talking about our definitions, these matters have been clearing themselves up before having to have a retired judge come in," Van Petten said. "The response has been unanimously favorable so far because we've offered both the guidelines and an arbitration process that is fair and not burdensome."

Not all of the PGA's goals have been achieved.

It had been hoped that the production companies, networks and studios would formally agree to abide by the guidelines and subject themselves to the jurisdiction of these arbitrations. So far, none of these entities has signed on, but it is hoped that can be achieved, Van Petten said, adding that the companies are considering the option.

"If the effectiveness is the same, then having a signed contract hopefully won't even be necessary if people voluntarily agree to abide by the provisions and use arbitration on a case-by-case basis," he said.

Industry acceptance was sought because the PGA is not a union and cannot use collective bargaining and the threat of a strike to protect its credits.

There is little chance the studios will sign the agreement, simply as a matter of business, according to one studio executive.

"(PGA) is not a guild or a union, so we don't have to -- plus, why would you want to have a third party regulate your business?" the official asked, adding that that did not diminish the need to stem the proliferation of credits.

The guidelines were developed over the course of several years and are focused on protecting the value of the "produced by" credit in feature films and the "executive producer" title in television.

The first of the recent credit disputes arose in December and were related to potential awards-season honors. Nonawards disputes started in January and have steadily increased in number, ranging from small independent features to big-budget studio projects.

From the start, the PGA insisted that lawsuits would be a last resort to prevent the dissemination of false credits. The option remains available and would involve asking the Los Angeles Superior Court to impose an injunction on the credit's use based on California laws against false advertising.